The New York Jets possess a core of young and talented players that will be vital to the team becoming one of the elites in the coming seasons.
The New York Jets and their fans let out a giant sigh of relief earlier this week, as the team and the first-round pick Sam Darnold came to an agreement on a rookie contract. The Jets signed the rookie quarterback to a four-year, $30.25 million deal, with $20 million guaranteed. Darnold missed the first three days of training camp practices but with him now under contract, the Jets are hoping he can become their franchise quarterback of the future.
Speaking of the future, the Jets have a very talented core of young players that have the skills to take the team to the next level, an elite type of level you could say. The Jets have acquired these players through the NFL Draft and the man behind this rebuild has been general manager Mike Maccagnan.
Maccagnan took over the Jets general manager position in 2015 and since then has drafted potential building blocks for the future. His picks will be instrumental for a solid foundation especially with potential star players in defensive end Leonard Williams (2015, the team picked up his fifth-year option earlier this offseason), linebackers Jordan Jenkins and Darron Lee (2016) and safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye (2017). The mentioned linebackers and safeties have had solid starts to training camp so far with Maye being slowly worked back into practice as he recovers from offseason ankle surgery.
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Shortly after the Jets signed Darnold, Mike Maccagnan detailed his vision for the future of the team and where he can see this team going in the coming seasons. According to an article by Greg Joyce of the New York Post, here is what Maccagnan had to say:
Our vision is to build a team that can be competitive for the playoffs year in and year out. I think we have a lot of good, young players. I think we’re in excellent cap shape going forward. Hopefully that will set us up for success possibly this year and into the future.”
Now it would be overly optimistic and maybe a little crazy to say that the Jets are a playoff team in 2018. The team has a few areas that need major improvements like the offensive line and a consistent pass rush. It will be interesting to see if the Jets can get any kind of improvement from these two key areas this season.
However, Maccagnan was right though when he said the Jets are in excellent cap shape moving forward. Cap space and a positive attitude in the locker room are the most important things to have when building a championship team.
According to OverTheCap.com, the Jets are currently projected to have the most cap space available in 2019 with a little over $81 million. That gives the Jets plenty of ammo to go after potential big-time free agents, especially on defense with such talented stars like defensive linemen Demarcus Lawrence, Ziggy Ansah, and Aaron Donald all set to hit the market.
If the Jets talented, young core of players are able to keep progressing in 2018 and they can sign an elite free agent or two in 2019, expect the franchise to take a giant step in becoming an elite team. Things are starting to slowly look up again for a franchise that has suffered long enough and for a fan base that deserves better.